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Showtime exec open to Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch

Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao pose for photographers during a press conference Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher

MANILA, Philippines – The showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao last May 3 was such a huge financial success that a senior executive of fight broadcaster Showtime is welcoming a rematch.

Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza admitted getting awed at how the fight performed on pay-per-view, shattering the record with 4.4 million buys and over $400 million in revenue.

“It far exceeded our expectations, even what we were expecting late in the week. We were monitoring pre-buys all week but there was nothing in the ballpark to compare it to … they were so high we couldn’t use it to extrapolate any numbers. We were largely flying blind,” Espinoza told R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News.

Mayweather defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in boxing’s richest fight ever. While the bout was a financial success, it failed to live up to the hype action-wise.

It was later learned that Pacquiao entered the fight nursing a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, earning the ire of some fans who felt they were cheated and who resorted to filing a class-action suit seeking damages.

Espinoza defended the fight though, saying there was a slim chance of having a knockout because of the high skill level of Mayweather and Pacquiao.

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“When you’re dealing with two elite athletes like Mayweather and Pacquiao, the distinction and separation in skill between them is going to be relatively minute. These are the two best fighters in the world, so you can look at that and realize that it was very unlikely that there was going to be a knockout,” the Showtime executive explained.

“Having said that, there was plenty of action throughout the fight and there was risk on both sides. The fight had thrilling moments – there was plenty for the casual fan and for the hard core fan. Those who were looking for a brutal slugfest were obviously disappointed, but anyone who appreciates the skill and technical prowess that’s required at the highest levels of boxing was treated to a unique and perhaps once in a lifetime exhibition of that,” Espinoza added.

So should Mayweather and Pacquiao meet again in the ring?

“I think we have to remain open to it. There’s a lot of chatter on both sides about the possibility – once Manny successfully recovers from [shoulder] surgery, if there a demand and if Floyd is still active or would consider coming back to being active then it would be a topic of conversation. But it will be driven by demand," said Espinoza.

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